Skiing with Polly and Mira

And Red and Arnie and Brooklyn and Greta.

I love it when the dogs outnumber the people.

I drove to Summit Park today to tour around with Polly and her entirely precious little MiraGirl. Fortunately, when I arrived, Polly allowed me ample time to hold the baby, cuddle the baby, talk to the baby and watch the baby scoot about on her little quilt on the floor, all the while marvelling at how this beautiful child is really very special. I mean, considering that Handsome Brooklyn (the friendly lab pictured here with his elegant sister Greta)

frequently wandered past Mira and licked her aacross the face - without Mira minding a bit - I think she's obviously a future Dog Whisperer at the very least.

We skinned from the house, which was superb. Up one peak, down again, over to another and down that, all without starting a car.

The boys had a great day, too. (As I write this, they're sound asleep by the fire. In fact, only Brad is nearer to the fire than they are.) Nearly five hours moving through deep snow, and neither of them slowed down at all. I'm very proud. Arnie wsa obviously very tired at the end, though, because he let his guard down and actually made eye contact for, like, the first time ever.

Well, he makes eye contact with me all the time, but seldom with anyone else, and never with the camera. He's like an indigenous villager who thinks that cameras steal souls. (Is that unPC? You know, to suggest that indigenous villagers don't know what cameras are? I mean, only say that because it's sort of true in my experience.....but if you're offended, I apologize. But, well, I guess, get used to it, because this is my blog. How bitchy!)

At the top of one peak, Polly decided that Mira should wear her goggles for the big descent:

What a Park City grom - sheepskin hat, down outfit, paparazzi shades. She's ready for Sundance.

Tired of waiting for me to make photo, the dogs took charge of the group and discussed the path of descent.

Red's impatience with me continued.

Even Arnie was getting bored. Can you see him sighing in this picture? He was.

I can see their point. It was getting late and weather was moving in. The boys needed treats, a couch and woodstove. I felt the same.

But I found time for one more Arnie portrait. I call this one Arnie Make Havoc. Get it?

Thanks for a great day, Polly!


Well, it's a little slow today.

So I make funny.

Love this woman's stuff; makes me want to go home and doodle.

And watch the Family Guy.

Today is a rest day - those calms between the pain storms that are supposed to be well-received but usually just leave me feeling restless and frantic. I'll be grateful for the recovery time tomorrow, though, and the following three days. Yes, I plan to SKI LIKE MANIAC over the upcoming 4 day weekend.

And watch the Family Guy.


Need more of this.

No, not rolling around with polar bears.


I have been super lazy about doing yoga lately, and I think I can tell. I feel shorter and slouchier. Less focused.

I was a Bikram fanatic for years - loved it wholly and practiced religiously. But I think I'm ready to move on to a different practice now. Mostly because I can't bear the thought of the hundred degree room. And working out next to smelly, sweaty people.

So I think I'll start practicing here. I love the studio, all brick-walled and naturally lit. I love the anonymity of not being surrounded by mirrors (I mean, after 12 years of downward dog I can tell if my form is ok or not without visible assistance).

Maybe I'll go tonight.


Lessons from the Doctor

But the lesson here is that even though I’m envious of those other skier people (the star bellied sneetches, as it were), I don’t want to be them. I don’t want to blindly follow someone around the bc and just believe them when they say that the slope is safe to ski. I want to make that decision for myself – to be able to make that decision for myself.

Maybe I should take another avy course. Or maybe I should just start skiing more with the exceptional resources in the Wasatch – the men and women who’ve skied these shots for decades.

Something I know for sure: I probably shouldn’t tour so much with Brad. As much as I love and adore him, the differences in our skiing abilities and goals are so great that they compromise our time together. While he knows the Wasatch intimately, I get lost trying to find the elusive (not really) Powder Park. While I’m trampling shrubbery in Big Cottonwood (still looking for Powder Park), he’s doing boulder problems in ski boots to gain access to a ridgeline.

Plus, he’s bored on the tours I enjoy (most recently, my favorite tour was Spruces to Reynolds Trees to Big Water to Reynolds Shoulder to Tom’s Hill to the Weather Station and back to Spruces – he might have died of boredom had he been along. As it was, he was lapping Days Fork).

I took part in the aforementioned tour on Sunday with these ladies:

Susan and Lizzie are two of my very favorite new friends (Lizzie is the mother of Moxie, who many of you know), and it occurred to me on that tour that had I been with Brad, I’d have cut our time short. I’d have caused some sort of scene and demanded that we bail early.

I don’t know why, exactly, I do that – why I’m less competent and capable with him around. More dramatic and needy. My only explanation is that I’m just so used to him taking care of me – reminding me how to get from one place to another, reminding me of people’s names, reminding me that he loves me no matter how batshit crazy I am at the time…..

The drama needs to stop. I know that it’s important to help one another through things, important to be able to rely on each other, but lately (always?) I seem to have been relying on Brad far more than is reasonable, or expected, or – as is evidenced from being totally fine and psyched on Sunday - necessary.

I am not a star-bellied Sneetch. And that's ok.


“You have to take the superstition out of it,” said Bill.

We were standing on top of Days Fork, and I was coming unglued. Brad and I had dug a couple snow pits, talked about snow conditions and made reasonable decisions based on our findings, but I still felt like the whole mountain could just collapse in a heartbeat. I felt incredible trepidation; like I was just waiting for it to happen.

“It’s not a mystery,” Bill continued, referring to snow science. “You can figure it out. You just have to get in there and look.”

I know.

But the thing is, I can study the snow pack all day – that doesn’t mean I trust it.

I didn’t tell Bill that my fears were bigger than that moment on top of Days Fork, bigger than that particular snow pack. That it wasn’t that day; it was every day. It wasn’t backcountry skiing; it was everything.

It was hearing people I love take a cavalier attitude toward safety. It was hearing people declare, “that slope will never slide,” or “that will never happen,” while looking me straight in the eye.

It’s then that I get all kinds of self-righteous. It’s then that I want to stand on top of a milk crate and scream, “you don’t know!”

Because in my experience, things that “don’t happen” did. Things that “can’t happen” have. And to develop a false sense of safety based on those blind assumptions, well, that scares me.

On the other hand, I seem to be the only one missing out. As I consider the people I see in the backcountry, I’m the only one who seems to stop short of fun because of what might happen. I’m the only one not racking up huge vert because the slope could slide. Do other people even think about these things? Everyone else just seems to be listening to tunes, zoning out and dropping in, concerned with nothing more than the untracked snow in front of them.

There’s a balance, I suppose, and I’ve never been good at balance. Maybe that's why I reference this poem nearly every day:

Shel Silverstein

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
and pranced and partied all night long
and sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow talle?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems well, and then
the nighttime Whatifs strike again!


Now for the Christmas Funny.

It's well-documented that I don't celebrate Christmas. (The unhealthy foods, the sitting around, the gifts of things I neither need or want, having to be NICE...it's all too much for me.)

But here's my secret: I absolutely love Christmas time. Well, the holiday season, I guess. I adored it when I was growing up. On Christmas Eve, my parents always threw a party for family (it was wonderful to see close family so happy and healthy and all dressed up; and the extended family, well, that was just for comic relief) and friends of the family. I remember my great aunts (Tillie, Nita, Emma and Rose) drinking Fuzzy Navels, sitting so closely to one another you'd think it had been years since they'd last been together. They were actually neighbors. Only one of them drove, so they'd all pile into her white cavalier - with standard issue old lady seat covers and poppy on the antenna, "you know, so I can find my car at the mall" - when they had to go somewhere.

Christmas day was always happy and calm. We didn't go anywhere too early. Until mid-afternoon, it was just the 4 of us, usually in our jammies, opening presents and dressing Tucker Dog up in all the bows. When my paternal grandparents were alive, we went to their house at 3 pm or so. I remember this so clearly, like it was yesterday: my grandmother always put out her black and white platter (it had a big flower pattern in the center) with pickled eggs and beets, celery and carrot sticks and olives. And my grandfather always made a platter of pepperoni and cheese. I can still see him sitting at their kitchen table, slicing the pepperoni. The way he held his knife made me realize that he wasn't always my grandfather, that once, he was actually a tough guy.

Then we went skiing.

Every year, as far back as I can remember.

That's what Brad and I will do this year, too, just as we did last year, although last year we were with Chris, our housemate who died last January. Chris was kind of a beginner at skiing, not super comfortable skinning up or going down, but he was always the first of us to ask, "another lap?" even though he was covered in snow and probably exhausted. We miss you, Chris.

But this is not a sad post! Not a sad! Not a sad!

No, this post is all about the Christmas funny. All about the seasonal reasons to guffaw and hoot and holler.

Not that they're always intensionally funny. I think this family just thinks of this as a regular ol' family photo:

(Incidentally, I love that they've adopted the beautiful little Asian kids - or at least rented them for photographic purposes - but do they really need to be dressed like dorks? I mean, why punish them for your own fashion shortcomings?)

All kinds of families take holiday photos. I got this card yesterday:

Sounds like all's well with the Wookie family. Chewy said "AAAAARNGH! AAAAR! AAAAANG! AAAARN!" So that's nice.

Christmas funny isn't limited to photos, either. There are funny cartoons:

More to come.

"The Time Has Come for Someone to Put His Foot Down. And that Foot is Me."

Last weekend – between margaritas and extended bouts of laziness – Brad and I joined Bill for a little tour in Toledo Bowl.

Following a junk show morning that didn’t even start till 11 am (for those of you who know my husband, you understand that our start was so late it might as well have been the NEXT DAY) and included one lost wallet, one tour of a newly finished basement, one missing ski, one boot flex test and one stop for lunch, we parked in front of the Deep Powder House and started skinning toward Pole Line Pass.

My memory of the short walk to Pole Line is a lot like my memory of climbing at the Minimum in Maple Canyon. This summer, after getting on the route 49 one time, I announced, “that thing’s, like, 5.10!” and proceeded to declare that I’d “totally flash it” my second try.

Not the case.

Similarly, as I toed into my Dynafits, I turned to the boys and said, “So we’ll be at the top in like, 15 minutes, so should we ski Cardiac today?”

Keep in mind that as I spoke those words, it was 2 pm. It gets dark at 5 pm. Between the three of us, no one is in particularly awesome shape right now, not was any of us really motivated that day (remember the 11 am kickoff?).

Both men looked at me, looked at each other, and without a word, put their headphones on.

Ok, so that’s not how it exactly how it went down – it wasn’t quite so choreographed. But they did look at me like I was a lunatic.

But that’s not news.

They do that all the time.

We ended up having a good, short tour. It was nice to ski with two of my favorite people, and it felt great to push a bit on the climb.

Here's Brad getting ready to point 'em.

And here's Bill's patented photo pose.


About Goddamned Time.

Yeah, again. I know. I'm getting tired of apologizing for not posting, so I should just, you know, post.

Brad sent me this ad yesterday. He got it from Kolin, one of the world's greatest dog lovers. This ad is the kind of thing I'd love to make someday: witty, catchy, golden retriever-focused.

And then, after I laughed and laughed and laughed at said ad, my office mate realized that it was going to me "one of those days" (when my need to laugh out loud prevents those around me from getting anything done) and sent me this IKEA ad. Oh, the hilarity! What is it about angry accented yelling directly into the camera that so delights me? Again, I laughed and laughed. And then I sent it to everyone I know in an attempt to make them have one of those days, too.

The response from my brother was this delightful number featuring Christopher Walken, who - along with people with accents and golden retrievers - always makes me happy. Good lord, what a multi-talented man.

On the skiing front, I am terribly lame. I bailed on dawn patrol because "it's too cold, the snow is too unstable, I'm tired, I'm sore, I don't wanna." And now I feel like I should be out there skinning. But, hey, it's early in the season, and it's high-time I start listening to my body. It didn't feel right, so I slept in. It's not the end of the world.

But on the topic of the end of the world, how about this story? That's right, everyone. Just when you think all hope is lost, you, too, could be reunited with your monkey. Of course, this "holiday miracle" doesn't explain the presence of a tiki bar in Rockville, Maryland.


I’ve Been Rather Busy

I started my new job last week, hence, no blogging.


Here’s what I love my new job as a copywriter for a big time ad agency:

Arnie gets to come to work with me.

Super nice co-workers.

A Powerbook G4. I know, I’m so shallow.

Being so close to the Aves, where I walk Arnie each day at lunch.

Peet’s Coffee, always on tap. (I know – historically I’ve dismissed Peet’s as poseur joe, AND IT IS, but it sure beats Folger’s crystals.)

My responsibilities, which include all sorts of things I’ve never done before. It’s nice to be learning new things every single day.

Interacting with the company’s other offices, in LA, Phoenix and DC.

Cucina, my new favorite lunch spot.

Arnie warming my feet as I type this.

The old building that houses our offices – kind of like the early days at Backbone.

Studio work.

Studying copy and language choices.

The organic Dancing Deer baked goods in the kitchen right now.

The woodsy out the floor-to-ceiling windows of my office.

I’m so lucky. I’m really grateful for this opportunity. It’s amazing how life’s scariest moments can really turn into gifts.